New Zealand Politics

Is the grass really greener in Australia? Living in Australia vs New Zealand

This article has been updated: Living in Australia vs New Zealand: 2013 Update

There has been a great deal of rhetoric spouting from the mouths of political figures in the past month and one of the of the interesting battle lines was the number of people who have immigrated to Australia from New Zealand. This became an emotive issue that was underpinned by poor reporting and subjective nonsense. The media conveniently forgot that our second largest city had been knocked to its knees and a large number of people left the country as a result. Equally convenient was the total lack of any research on who was leaving New Zealand and who was arriving.

So let’s look at some objective facts and some subjective aspects.

When it comes to crime, Australia has a higher rate than New Zealand. Five time more car thefts, 20% more homicides, three times as many murders committed by youth, and five times more offences with firearms. New Zealand per capita locks up 38% more than Australia, has 30% more rape victims, 83% more suicides, but still just falls short of Australia when you stack all the numbers.

As far as the economy and associated wages go, New Zealand was left behind around 1950 by Australia. There is simply no denying that Australia is more efficient, productive, spends more on research, has high wages, and is more technologically advanced. New Zealand scores higher in “economic freedom”, but nothing else in the index. You should note this doesn’t account for taxes.

When it comes to the environment Australia badly lacks compared to New Zealand. 106% higher C02 emissions per capita compared to New Zealand, ten times more pollution on average, five times more threatened species than New Zealand, more waste generation, less clean water, and more water pollution in general.

Education in New Zealand is far stronger than Australia. In New Zealand we spend more GDP on Education, stay at school longer, obtain higher qualifications, and are more literate. Perversely, teachers in Australia are paid 53% more than their New Zealand counterparts.

Australia consumes far more energy than New Zealand and this equates on some level to environmental impact, which we will look at next. A whopping 90.8% of Australia’s electricity is generated from fossil fuel, gas prices are 18% higher, consumes five times more oil, and on average each Australian uses 17% more energy than the average New Zealander. Six times more electricity is generated by hydro in New Zealand.

New Zealand’s health record compared to Australia is poor. More cancer across the board, more smokers, less hospital beds, more heart disease, a much higher infant mortality rate, more deaths by car, fewer doctors, a far higher suicide rate, and less spending (by an estimated $600) per person per annum for health.

Let’s talk tax. Corporate tax is 39% more than New Zealand, GST is lower, but you will pay more personal tax by far (Australia is the highest personal taxed nation in the OECD.) Across the board, tax is generally higher by a significant degree.

Living costs are harder to find good comparison data for, though on investigation the cost of living in Australia is significantly higher when you take the CPI, property, transport, and other living costs. Some data available puts the average at 30% – 40% more expensive than New Zealand on average.

Then there are the subjective measures. Australia is more racist, beyond a shadow of a doubt. New Zealand food is fresher and cheaper. You’re not going to get stung to death by anything in New Zealand. New Zealand is greener by a country mile. Australia has better weather by a long shot, but they get more extreme weather as a result. It will take you longer to get to work in Australia and you’ll pay more for less service. Service in Australia is awful in general compared to New Zealand (and that’s saying something.)

On balance, Australia has become the new, great, Overseas Experience location as an alternative to Mother England who is slowly closing her borders. The grass is definitely not greener unless you are into making cold, hard, cash and sending it home where it you can add (as of writing) a 30% bonus to every dollar. As a place to go, make cash, then return to New Zealand to buy your first house, it’s perfect.

Categories: New Zealand Politics

11 replies »

  1. So what you’re saying is – move to Australia, where the income is better, the weather is warmer, the healthcare is better…..make some cash and then move back to a country where all of those things are worse, so you can slowly be financially bled back to the point where you have to go overseas again to get ahead…or simply can no longer afford to leave? (like thousands of Kiwis…)
    I also think you need to check your tax figures when it comes to personal income tax comparisons… figures say that an $80k salary here in Australia attracts just under $18K income tax, and then a 1.5% medicare levy which comes to a total of about $19,200 AU.
    The same $80K income in NZD would attract (via it’s ridiculous convoluted equations) roughly $18000 in tax, which would then further be depleted by the higher GST. But here’s the thing to remember – the $80K income in AUD is the equivalent of $104K in NZD… for the same fiscal value you actually have another $24K of income to pay another (at that income rate) 35 cents in the dollar tax – $8400.00…….so on the same actual income VALUE, in Australia you’d pay about $19K in tax and then GST on your purchases….whereas if you earnt the same in NZ…….you get to pay about $26K in tax. $26K NZD = $19850 AUD vs Tax in Australia – less than $19500AUD. Simple maths, comparing apples with apples. Australia wins. And that’s before you factor in the extra 5% GST kiwis pay. On EVERYTHING.
    You quite simply cannot whip grossly generalised figures off and present them as being the be all and end all. You cannot accuse the NZ media of mis-representing the movement of people across the tasman unless they have tried to say that…..NZ has had a steady flow of people leaving to go (anywhere) elsewhere for decades.

    In summary, the reality is that NZ is a better option only for those who value being so far behind on so many levels it makes no sense to acknowledge one is even taking part in the race anymore, with diehard head-in-the-sand staunch Kiwis (who have most likely never experienced Australia outside an Australian CBD or tourist destination) resort to subjective stuff like…Australia is racist (only really in bondi, and only if you believe the Australian media – NZ is racist as all hell too, just listen to Hone Harawira) and ‘food in NZ is fresher and cheaper’ – which is quite simply not true – a simple comparison of the costs of bread/fruit/veges/dairy will tell you that, and the produce on the shelf is some of the best I’ve seen anywhere. Including direct from the market garden in NZ………
    It’s fine to extoll the virtues that NZ has left – but being a better place to live than Australia? Open your eyes……perhaps you need to move over to see what it’s REALLY like……


  2. Excellent,

    You’re the first person who has actually picked one of the three sources that I got my stats from. There are two others.

    And yes, I have lived there, east and west coast.

    Well done.


  3. Having lived in Melbourne for 7 years, I can say that I agree with the original comments. The cost of houses is massive, Brisbane prices started to go up in the mid 2000’s having lagged the Melbourne and Sydney earlier rises.
    Also having spent most of those years driving 45minutes to work each day, I longed for the 10-15min bike ride I had enjoyed in NZ and can say I am enjoying that now.
    Money is not the aim of life, enjoying it is. Sitting in a car is not enjoyable especially when the traffic is choked up, although I can say car-pooling and talking books was a great improvement. My life is a lot more relaxed now.
    If you want to consider all the other nasty little taxes that are imposed, such as stamp duties, I know where I like to live.
    Don’t get me wrong I loved living in Aus, especially the wildlife. There is a degree of racism there, but it depends on the circles you move in and NZ is certainly not a free society in that respect.


  4. i would rather live in aus because nz is full of bullshit artists who pretend they live here because they did not hack it in aus and whinging pricks who cannot hack it in this third world shit hole. i am off this year and will live in asia and aus never to return if i can help it and we arrived in 1865 and are leaving with bucks in our pocket


  5. Australians are really racist and are even racist to their own neighbours the kiwis. In nz the grass is greener the people are nicer and the stress is lower


  6. Hello! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog
    platform are you using for this website? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had problems with
    hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform. I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.


  7. My wife and I have lived and worked in Australia (QLD) for the last 14 years, we even became Citizens as we loved the country and lifestyle so much.
    At first this country was a great alternative to NZ, however under the Gillard Government and the changing economy, the peoples attitude toward Kiwis has changed dramatically.

    NZ’rs arriving from 2001 were designated as second class emmigrants, who could only become citizens at huge expense and had no access to any Government support and had to obtain a Special Category Visa to be part of the Australian Society.

    Comments fly thick and fast that kiwis come here to take aussie jobs, bludge on their welfare system and are a blot on their culture !!!!!
    Never mind that kiwis work harder and pay tax, buy houses, buy cars, furniture, white goods etc etc all of which support the economy

    In fact the rhetoric has become so bad in our neighbourhood that we are now in the process of moving back to NZ.
    Although we have loved our time here, the bullies with a chip on their shoulder and the religeous zealots living nearby who don’t like kiwis have made our lives a misery.

    The cost of living here now is around 19% more expensive than NZ, and although wages are generally better, beware.
    So to all who wish to make the move to Aus, keep your eyes and ears open before you decide.


  8. Hi, where are your sources for this? I am writing an essay comparing the education systems in both New Zealand and Australia and would like to expand on the points made in this blog.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s